Despite Ōban Star-Racers being mostly an action series, it has several sad moments as well.
Grave Like Groor
- Rick being told he can't race anymore was quite upsetting, especially with the tear that rolls down his face while watching over the stadium.
Silent Like Spirit
- Spirit learns Molly believes he's responsible for her mother's death, and explains with telepathy that Maya's racer was damaged and he tried to save her. Spirit's Single Tear before he flies away shows Maya's death did not haunt just Molly and Don.
Monstrous Like Muir
- Muir wishes to revive his mate, who was killed by alien hunters. Muir had hoped winning the Great Race would give him the power to bring her back to life. Sadly he, like Molly, learns that the Avatar doesn't have the power to resurrect the dead, meaning that both of their efforts were All for Nothing. While he can't genuflect like a human, it wasn't hard to tell he was crying on the inside.
Ominous Like O
- While Molly/Eva's Calling the Old Man Out moment with her father was an awesome moment for her, it also makes you sad when watching the scene. Eva lets out all the pain she felt during her time with her father during the racing games and how spent her entire childhood without her father.
- Don Wei's My God, What Have I Done? reaction when Eva/Molly recalls how he didn't recognize her after they met in the first episode is also heartaching. You can see on his face and hear in his voice how much he regrets it.
- During his explanation on why he abandoned Eva as a child, we get to see a flashback of Don in deep depression after Maya died. Then, his catatonic state after he dropped a young Eva at the Stern Boarding School...while she's begging her father not to leave.
- O's Heroic Sacrifice, fighting off the giant guardians that would've killed Molly, Jordan, and Aikka otherwise. The protagonists don't know him or his motives, and the audience knows only slightly more, but in less than two minutes, this inscrutable Starfish Alien proves his worth and dies for it.Jordan: (having spent the previous minutes being suspicious of, and threatening O) I guess O was a good guy after all...
The Moment of Truth
- The revelation that Canaletto had been orchestrating Molly's entire life from the moment she was born. He rigged Maya's ship so she would die in front of her husband and young daughter, thus straining Molly's relationship with Don Wei and giving her the motivation to become a racer so she could bring her mother back to life... knowing that once Molly learns the Avatar's power isn't enough to resurrect the dead, she'll refuse it, setting Canaletto free. Canaletto also got rid of Rick by having a pawn give him a Career-Ending Injury that prevented him from racing, as well as Sul by imprisoning him in another dimension, just to ensure that Molly became the primary racer for Earth. It's so devastating to Molly that she has a severe Heroic BSoD, weakening her to Canaletto's hypnotic sorcery and rendering her a pawn to an Eldritch Abomination yet again.
- Jordan's Heroic Sacrifice - he jumped onto the Pyramid of Power to save his friends and prevent Canaletto from gaining the Avatar's power, despite knowing that doing so would strand him on Oban forever because of the Avatar's immense duties as protector of the galaxies.
- Molly's reaction to all of this; she's horrified and screams Jordan's name as he jumps onto the Pyramid of Power, realizing what he was doing and thinking she would lose her friend forever. And while Jordan does show up alive in his new Avatar form, Molly apologizes to him thinking it was her fault he was made Avatar, despite Jordan assuring her he willingly chose to do it.
- Before Jordan leaves with the Great Beings, Molly stops Jordan by cradling his face, saying, "I..." but couldn't go through. Jordan looks at her understandingly and kisses her, telling her to "Take care of yourself... Molly." It's implied that what Molly wanted to say was, "I love you."
- When Molly finds Aikka and he asks about Jordan, she tells him that "better than ever", while sporting a sad smile on her face. Given that Aikka's last interaction with Jordan before he was knocked unconscious was in the Temple of Oban...
- The very fact that becoming the Avatar had caused Jordan to become so far removed from his humanity, that he couldn't stay on Earth with his friends anymore. Though Molly blows him a goodbye kiss, he sheds a tear as he watches the Earth team leave him behind without so much a goodbye.
- At the very end, after visiting Maya's grave, Molly looks up and sees her mother's ship flying overhead in spirit form. Seeing it gives her flashbacks of everything she went through during the Great Race, including her bond with Jordan and seeing him become the Avatar. Definitely a tear-jerking end for those who watched Molly's journey for the entire series.